Tag Archives: Naruto v. Slater

Publicity Exactly What Was Missing From Monkey Selfie Case

426312_10150708008077792_310744473_nAccording to the “infinite monkey theorem,” a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare or at least a comprehensible original work.   But, according to a United States federal district court judge, that hardworking primate could not copyright that work.  Why?  Because, as the court held in Naruto v. Slater, the “Copyright Act does not confer standing upon animals like Naruto,” who cannot be and “is not an ‘author’ within the meaning of the Copyright Act.”  The Court made clear that the statutory use of the word “author” without further definition limited authorship to “persons” or “human beings.”  The case was one that has been much discussed and in the public eye since the one-count (copyright) complaint’s original filing in September 2015, and the decision generated widespread reports in legal and popular press after it issued on January 28, 2016, including Judith Grubner’s thoughtful piece in last week’s ILN IP Insider looking at the implications of restricting authorship to humans in the age of artificial intelligence. 

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